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View Full Version : Harvard Report Questions Value of 'College for All'



theschoolboards
02-02-2011, 09:48 AM
This from Education Week (http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/02/02/20career.h30.html?tkn=MYXFpCkTS6mGMEl6TwGQsY4dzjZY R77iAGEx&cmp=clp-edweek) by Catherine Gewertz:
By concentrating too much on classroom-based academics with four-year college as a goal, the nation’s education system has failed vast numbers of students, who instead need solid preparation for careers requiring less than a bachelor’s degree, Harvard scholars say in a report issued today (http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/features/2011/Pathways_to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf).

Leaders of the “Pathways to Prosperity” project (http://www.gse.harvard.edu/blog/news_features_releases/2010/02/pathways-to-prosperity-seeks-to-redefine-american-education-system.html) at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education argue for an education system that clearly articulates students’ career options as early as middle school and defines the coursework and training required, so young people can chart an informed course toward work, whether as an electrician or a college professor.

Their report arrives as experts are trying to define what skills are necessary for work and for higher learning.

The proposal from an esteemed school of education sparked immediate concern—including what one activist called “a major case of heartburn”—for raising the specter of tracking, in which disadvantaged students would be channeled unquestioningly into watered-down programs that curtail their prospects.

The Harvard study also drew notice because it was driven in part by the concerns of one of its co-authors, Robert B. Schwartz (http://www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty_research/profiles/profile.shtml?vperson_id=170), a prominent champion of higher academic expectations for all students, who said he began to doubt the wisdom of a “college for all” approach to education. Another co-author, Ronald Ferguson (http://www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty_research/profiles/profile.shtml?vperson_id=82345), the director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative, is a national expert on improving learning opportunities for disadvantaged children.

The authors contend that their vision would expand opportunity for all students, especially those who face the dimmest prospects now because their education stops at high school. Rather than derailing some students from higher learning, their system would actually open more of those pathways, they say, by offering sound college preparation and rigorous career-focused, real-world learning, and by defining clear routes from secondary school into certificate or college programs.

“Every high school graduate should find viable ways of pursuing both a career and a meaningful postsecondary degree or credential,” the report says. “For too many of our youth, we have treated preparing for college versus preparing for a career as mutually exclusive options.”

read more>> (http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/02/02/20career.h30.html?tkn=MYXFpCkTS6mGMEl6TwGQsY4dzjZY R77iAGEx&cmp=clp-edweek)